• Metro traffic unmanageable, Tolentino admits

     Traffic gridlocks will worsen next year unless the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority gets additional funding to hire personnel to man traffic in major roads, according to MMDA chief Francis Tolentino. AFP PHOTO

    Traffic gridlocks will worsen next year unless the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority gets additional funding to hire personnel to man traffic in major roads, according to MMDA chief Francis Tolentino. AFP PHOTO

    IF you think the traffic nightmare in Metro Manila can’t get any worse, think again.

    Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) admitted on Tuesday that the traffic situation has become unmanageable and will worsen next year if the agency will not be given additional funds to enable it to hire more personnel.

    Speaking at the Bulong Pulungan media forum at the Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City (Metro Manila), Tolentino said the MMDA will be needing volunteers to man traffic on Edsa, Katipunan, Roxas Boulevard and other major thoroughfares if the agency will not be able to get back the 15 percent slashed from the MMDA’s budget for 2015.

    “I want you to realize that the current traffic situation is really unmanageable when we lack three items. Number one, budget. MMDA’s budget for 2015 was slashed by 15 percent. If we don’t get that 15 percent [back], we will need volunteers to man Katipunan, to man Roxas Boulevard. That is why I volunteered for the last two days to man traffic myself. It will be hard next year,” he told the media forum.

    Tolentino said Metro Manila also needs an additional 137 kilometers of new roads as proposed by the Japanese-initiated transportation roadmap called the Dream Plan.

    According to the MMDA chairman, some residential subdivisions should be opened to vehicular traffic during certain hours.

    “Maraming magagalit [Many from such subdivisions will get angry] but that’s the bitter pill that we have to swallow,” he said.

    Tolentino said Metro Manila needs a “leapfrogging” in the mass transit system.

    “So when we speak of modernization, I think big corporations should be involved. The government probably might find it long and difficult to shoulder the entire burden of modernizing the mass transit system,” he noted.

    The MMDA chief said plans for subway systems are in the works.

    “I believe the subway system will help. Flooding would not be an issue even if you dig 10 or 30 meters in Edsa. But we need huge investments apart from the P2.6 trillion mentioned by the Dream Plan,” he added.

    The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) initiated Dream Plan, which calls for an investment of P2.6 trillion to decongest traffic.

    Tolentino said the Dream Plan coincides with the MMDA’s project called “Greenprint 2030.”

    The Dream Plan seeks the construction of 137 kilometers of new roads for Metro Manila, 78 kilometers of urban expressways and 200 kilometers of new light railway system that will include the Light Rail Transit 1 extension going to Bacoor, Cavite, and Metro Rail Transit 7 going to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan.

    The first part of the plan involves a P520-billion short-term program of decongesting traffic between now and 2016.

    The short-term program contains proposals to fill missing links in major thoroughfares, expand expressways serving as entrances to Metro Manila and develop rail and road-based mass transport systems, among others.

    In the same forum, Megaworld senior vice president Jericho Go commended the MMDA for implementing a new traffic scheme in Eastwood City and Libis along C5 in Quezon City.

    According to Go, the flow of vehicles going to Eastwood City and nearby Libis area greatly improved after the MMDA reactivated its synchronized traffic light system on several intersections along E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave (C-5) including Calle Industria, Greenmeadows, Lanuza and Eastwood City.

    He said the implementation of the new scheme has produced immediate results with more motorists reporting that their travel time going to Eastwood City has been reduced by more than half.


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    1. DRONES. That’s part of the answer to the massive traffic jams. If several drones patrols the air in Manila it can predict where the gridlocks ate and assist in traffic management.
      urban planning. New buildings and roads, subdivisions, business must be built outside the city premises. Expand the city, decongest it.
      Public transport , that is clean , electrical. And well maintained.
      Remove the jeepneys. Or at least regulate it heavily. These jeepneys drivers are the most undisviplined of them all. Next probably only to Calcutta and Nairobi.

    2. I take the bus from Muñoz to Ortigas and it takes me at least 2 hours of travel.
      Problems observed that has to be addressed:
      1. MRT North Ave Station. 2 lanes are occupied by vehicles (private/ suv) unloading their passengers while the busses occupy the third lane for loading & unloading which leaves only a few lanes left for other commuters;
      2. MRT GMA Station. Traffic begins to be really heavy on both the fly over and the lower part of the road stretched all the way to Ortigas. The problem starts with the fly over to Rosario,Pasig. 4-5 lanes are occupied by vehicles going to Rosario & only 2 lanes are left for those going to Ortigas. Underneath the Santolan fly over, though there is a traffic signal, the green light just before Crame is not observed because MMDA enforcers halt vehicles on a green light to give way for vehicles making a U-turn…U-turn should be done only when the red light is on going to Crame. MMDA enforcers allow busses to load/ unload passengers at farmers for an unlimited time causing other busses to halt all the way from Q-mart, Ramon Magsaysay High School to MRT GMA Station/ Timog Ave.

      If only MMDA enforcers together with Police enforcers(who by the way group themselves together making conversations instead of manning the traffic) would to their duties efficiently and effectively, these traffic jams would be somehow solved.

    3. Here we go again with new proposals and heavier budget allocations!!! MMDA policies on ‘loading/ unloading’ as well as time allotment for such should be seriously checked and ensured that the law is followed; ‘number coding’ is also yet to be checked constantly by MMDA. MMDA personnel assigned to traffic should be trained more on timely synchronizing of ‘stop-go’ signals and ‘u-turns’. Vehicles turning right, left or making U-turn should not be occupying more than two lanes.

    4. Rafaela Vicente on

      MMDA should enforce the law to raise revenues. They’d probably be able to recover the 15% cut from its budget or even more by establishing a quota system from each traffic law enforcer to ensure traffic violators are issued traffic violation fine.

    5. Mr. Tolentino should go to Singapore and observe how they handle or manage the traffic there. As a head of a Govt. Agency he is entitled to ask information to the Transport agency in Singapore and ask any information regarding proper management. If not he’ll just tell anything to the people with out doing his homework and he should not be leading such agency as the MMDA. Better leave that post and give to anybody who may have better brain to manage MMDA.

    6. Fire the incompetent FRANCIS TOLENTINO he could not even solve tagaytay traffic what right does he have to manage metro manila. He has several ombudsman cases against him pending only because he is a schoolmate of PNOY.

      Bring back BAYANI FERNANDO he did a much much better job.


    8. Eliseo Jr. P.Tenza on

      Adding more traffic enforcers is not the solution to solve the traffic problem in MM.
      Drastic and painfull action has to be taken to resolve the problem.
      1. Reduce vehicles on the road, by making exhaust emission checks more effective, checks on brake system and other checks to make sure that well maintained cars can only be on the road.
      2. Remove old cars, busses more than 15 years old from plying the roads.
      3. Auto dealers must not be allowed to provide incentives for the sale of new cars.
      4. Implement strict controls on car loans, to prevent additional cars on the roads, better still adopt the Singapore strategy, that you scrap one car you can get a new car.
      5. Improve roads by providing bigger radius for turning so that bigger and longer busses can be used for transport.
      6. Improve traffic control by automated traffic control.
      7. Keep arresting traffic violators (even they have police courtesy cards).
      8. Start planning for the new MRT lines that can serve more passengers.
      9. Start implementing Electronic Road Pricing on major roads.

      • ernesto albay on

        One of the solution is no left turn or right turns on major thoroughfares. Use one cooperative bus plying EDSA. Eliminate multi-bus companies plying the route, one company that will have an interval of 5-minutes during rush hour, 1 – 2 minutes loading and unloading, its like riding on MRT. Have a bus that is like two units together that can accomodate more passengers and more entry and exit like MRT.
        Discipline among drivers and commuters

    9. Building more roads is not the answer. No where in the world has this worked to reduce congestion – it encourages more car use and worse traffic and air. Manila urgently needs to focus on the mass transit options discussed and on bus rapid transit. There would be no need for new roads if public transport was better.

    10. Francis Tolentino got it all wrong. Adding traffic enforcers and constructing a few more kilometers of roads will not solve the traffic gridlock in Metro Manila. He has to understand first that the main causes of our traffic mess are our chaotic transport system of having too many small private bus companies competing with one another, an inadequate and poorly-maintained LRT/MRT, and having too many vehicles competing for limited road space. He has to look at Singapore which manages its traffic well through its development of a world-class mass transit system using MRT linked with modern buses. Likewise, Singapore drastically reduced the number of cars operating in the city.

      If we are to solve the polluted, messy traffic gridlock in Metro Manila that costs our economy P2 billion everyday, we must develop an efficient mass transit system based on MRT, whether subway or elevated, linked with a publicly-owned bus system. However, because of high cost and long construction period involved in building more MRT lines, Metro Manila could opt for the cheaper and successful publicly-owned BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system used in Curitiba, Brazil. The modern BRT buses in Curitiba run on exclusively designated lanes in main thoroughfares unhampered by traffic lights and other vehicles. A BRT bus stops every 90 seconds at tube-like stations where tickets are sold and collected before passengers board the bus. The stations serve also as shelters for passengers. The buses are equipped with wide doors to allow wheelchairs and simultaneous loading and unloading of passengers.

      As we have roads already in place, a publicly-owned BRT system could be put in service in a short time and at a low cost, while our planners figure out how to build more MRT lines in Metro Manila.

    11. Also, please full enforcement of traffic rules and regulations by the authorities. Likewise plan for the de-congestion of Metro Manila by giving incentives to schools, manufacturers and other business establishment who want put to up their business outside the 100 kilometer radius of Metro Manila and relocating the temporary settlers of Metro Manila back to their provinces.

    12. If you will ask Pnoy, the worse the traffic condition is, the better, because that’s the sign of progress. What a statement from the President?